Currencies: Dollar searches for catalyst as risk sentiment improves

U.S. dollar moves were rather muted on Thursday, as major currency pairs looked for new catalysts amid improving risk conditions that sent stocks higher.

Read: Why currency traders hate their jobs right now

What are currencies doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.05%  , which measures the greenback against six developed market currencies, edged 0.1% lower to 89.561. The broader WSJ U.S. Dollar Index BUXX, -0.03%  was little changed at 83.65.

The euro EURUSD, +0.0485%  rose slightly to fetch $1.2380, compared with $1.2376 late Wednesday.

The British pound GBPUSD, +0.2605%  recovered from Wednesday’s slide and strengthened to $1.4236 from $1.4205.

Versus the Japanese yen USDJPY, +0.12%  , the dollar rose to ¥107.38 from ¥107.23. The buck fell against the Swiss franc USDCHF, -0.1136%  , which is considered a haven currency like the yen, buying 0.9675, down from 0.9686 francs late Wednesday in New York.

Read: How geopolitics have helped drive this haven currency to a 3-year low

What is driving the market?

The U.S. dollar edged lower on Thursday, but moves in major currency pairs were muted. And with the economic calendar for the rest of the week rather barren, there are few data drivers to provide direction.

Elsewhere, Federal Reserve Board Gov. Lael Brainard spoke of sign of financial imbalances in the economy, including asset valuations and leverage.

In the U.K., weaker than expected retail sales weighed on the pound, which had already been hit with disappointing inflation figures on Thursday.

On the European continent, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emanuel Macron are meeting to talk eurozone and EU reforms.

What are strategists saying?

“The majors lack direction and have tried to latch onto some mini-themes,” wrote Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities. “One notable point is that behind the headlines risk markets are improving with strong earnings, accommodative financial conditions and firming commodities.”

What else is on deck?

Jobless claims for the week ended April 14 are due at 8.30 a.m. Eastern, expected to hit 230,000. The Philly Fed index for April is due at the same time.

Leading economic indicators data for March concludes the day’s major releases at 10 a.m. Eastern.

In Federal Reserve speakers, vice chair for supervision Randal Quarles will testify about regulatory reform before a Senate committee at 10 a.m. Easter, while Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will give ha speech at 6.45 p.m. Eastern.

In other assets, U.S. stock futures are pointing at a lower open, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Index YMM8, -0.21%  and S&P 500 ESM8, -0.24%  set to open in the red.

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